Republican efforts to allow hunting and trapping near state fish hatcheries went on hold Wednesday, as the DNR Board blocked a proposal for a site in Sheboygan County.
DNR staff wanted to redesignate about half the 400 acres of land at the Kettle Moraine Springs fish hatchery, to allow hunting, trapping, fishing and other outdoor recreation. But property owners near the hatchery claim they got little notice of the proposal, and they don't like the idea of people firing guns nearby. Local resident Paul Oetlinger says the hunting parcels near the hatchery would have been quite small and so he's happy the DNR board voted to table the plan, "It's just rather bizarre to me to have hunters that close."
Oetlinger says it's better to keep hunters in larger blocs of land. He says he expects the hatchery plan to come back, and promises another fight unless the plan is altered. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp also predicts the hunting at hatcheries concept will return, and she says the DNR will keep looking at many of its properties to see what's doable on them, "The legislature wants to make sure there's access."
By the middle of next year, Gov. Scott Walker's nominees to the DNR board are expected to have majority control. Most board members are currently Doyle Administration appointees.